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Déjà Vu: Chapter 13: Secrets

Chapter Links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40

Déjà Vu

Chapter 13: Secrets

Reports are now coming in of another devastating round of tsunamis in South-East Asia. Casualties are estimated in the hundreds; however, the total would have been much higher if not for the arrival of Superman. Witnesses are reporting that the superhero has single-handedly saved hundreds, maybe thousands of lives by holding back the waves with his powerful breath, allowing people to flee ahead of the floodwaters… The anchorwoman spoke these words breathlessly from the television monitor anchored in the corner.

“He keeps busy, doesn’t he?” Richard commented, taking a sip of soda.

Well, at least I know his excuse for cutting off our conversation was valid… Lois mused, and then answered aloud, “Yes. I don’t know how he does it.” She tried to turn her eyes back to her fiancé. When she did, she found him regarding her with a steady, penetrating gaze. She quickly turned her attention to her salad, and speared a bit of lettuce.

“He certainly seems to have made a full recovery, even though he’s only been out of the hospital a couple of days.” She nodded noncommittally in agreement, keeping her eyes downward as she chewed. But he wasn’t done. “Tell me. When you saw him last, did he look well?”

Her head snapped up. His eyes still held the same penetrating gaze, but a tinge of hurt seemed reflected there. “I haven’t…” she began to deny, but then let it drop. She had never liked lying to Richard – she hated it, actually – and now was as good a time as any to make good on her promise to herself that she would tell him everything. She set down her fork before continuing, “…he seemed fine the last time I saw him.”

His lips tightened painfully. She had admitted it, and even though that was probably what he was trying to get her to say, it didn’t lessen the blow. “And when was that, exactly?” he pressed, his reporter’s training coming through.

She considered her answer. As much as she was still angry with Clark for lying to her for years, she deeply felt the weight of his secret. Is this what it’s like? To keep an important truth from someone you love, because you fear they won’t be able to handle it? She finally settled on a half-truth, despising its necessity. “Earlier today. Clark and I got into a spot of trouble, and Superman got us out of it.”

Luckily he didn’t delve deeper into her story. “And you didn’t think this was important enough to tell me earlier?”

Lord knows he has every right to be mad… But for some reason, he seemed less angry than disappointed. In a way, that was worse for her. “It was important, Richard… but it wasn’t the first time I’d seen him since he got out of the hospital.” I’ve spent more time around him than I’ve spent around you these last few days…

“Not the first time.” He took a deep breath. Then he asked quietly, a note of pleading in his voice, “Please be honest with me, Lois. Is there something going on between you?”

What a complicated question! She wanted to be as honest as possible, though. He had always been good to her. He had been everything Clark hadn’t been while the Kryptonian had been gallivanting through the stars. And so, she started with an answer that was as close to the truth as she could get. “No… and yes. No, we aren’t involved. I would never cheat on you, Richard. You are too important to me.” She paused, unsure that she was ready to come out with the rest of it just yet.

But he was just as aware as she was that the second half of the question had not been answered. “But?”

“But…” she swallowed, and looked at her hands, words choking in her throat. “But there is something between us. Or I should say… someone.”

“Jason.” The name fell heavily from his mouth.

A little shocked, she nodded and looked back up into his eyes. He had known – for how long? How did he figure it out?

She never got the chance to ask. Richard’s right hand tightened around his napkin. He kept his voice level as he accused, “And you’ve let me believe, all this time, that he was my son?”

“I believed it myself!” she blurted, overly loud. Conversations all around them quieted for a moment, and they both studied their meals until the buzz around them returned to normal. In a quieter, but no less urgent voice, she said, “Richard, you have to believe me. I had no idea until after Superman came back that it could even be possible!”

He laughed mirthlessly. “Oh, come on. I know my uncle says you can’t write worth a damn about sex, but you and I both know you’re no stranger to it. If you and Superman had a relationship, and then you turned up pregnant a few months later, even you, no, especially you should have known it was a possibility.” He shook his head disbelievingly. “I knew there was more behind your hurt and anger about Superman’s disappearance than you were letting on…”

She wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him. No, Richard! I didn’t know! He took it away from me! If the bastard had only stayed around, you never would have been more than a passing blip on my radar! Tears were coming to her eyes again. She blinked them away harshly, trying to find the right words to say. “Richard… I…”

He stood suddenly, tossing a few bills on the table. “I love you, Lois. But if you didn’t care about me enough to tell me something like this… had to wait until even I could have figured it out for myself… then obviously you aren’t ready to commit to us, yet.”

She shook her head violently, unable to talk. She reached a pleading hand toward him. He looked down at the sparkling engagement ring on her hand, and asked, words cutting deeply, “Tell me. Was this why you would never set a date? Was I just a placeholder until the real groom came back?”

But he didn’t let her respond. He spun on his heel and left the café, not looking back.

She slowly dropped her hand to her side, silent tears running down her face. “But I didn’t know. I never even suspected until I saw his face again…” she whispered. What could she say to make him believe her though? ‘Superman erased my memory. I didn’t remember anything until I kissed him again…’ Oh, that would go over well. She was damned every which way she turned. Unable to tell the man she had loved for five years the truth without harming the one she had loved before him.

She finally admitted to herself that she did feel something for Clark now, something other than searing pain, betrayal and anger over what he had done to her. What was she going to do? “Clark…” she whispered. “I can’t take it anymore. I know the world needs you… but what about me?” She covered her face with her hands and sobbed quietly, not caring who saw.

A few minutes later, she felt a presence beside her. Assuming it was the waitress depositing the check, she grabbed her napkin and dabbed at her eyes. She reached below her seat for her purse, saying, “Just a minute, let me get my card…” and then saw a pair of brown slacks beside her. She followed them up with her eyes, and stopped, astonished. “Clark?”

He was there, in the flesh, not thousands of miles away saving people. Why? He smiled kindly, sadly, and took the chair that Richard had vacated so suddenly.

“So he knows.” With one resigned sentence, Clark encapsulated the whole horrible fight she and Richard had just had.

She sniffled, shutting her eyes to wipe at them again. There was no need to wonder how he knew. He had told her not long ago that he could hear everything. She was not surprised to learn he had stayed tuned into her, even while working to rescue victims a half a world away. “Yes. And I couldn’t explain to him why I never told him.”

“Lois, it’s not your fault…”

“Then whose fault is it?” She couldn’t keep it in any longer. “Clark. I know you did something to me.”

His eyes widened, but she was sure her earlier outburst about wiping the slate clean had warned him already. “I did. And I’ve never been sorrier about anything in my entire life.”

She began to say, ‘Why did you do it?’ But then it was her turn to stand suddenly. They were going to talk about this. No interruptions, no emergencies. “And you’re going to tell me why. But not here. I want you to take me there. Where it all happened.” His blue eyes managed to widen even further.

She came around to take his hand in hers, the first time she had voluntarily touched him since the fateful kiss. “Take me to the Fortress.”


Next: Chapter 14: Answers

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
midniterose
Aug. 22nd, 2006 08:35 am (UTC)
Another excellent chapter
htbthomas
Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:40 am (UTC)
Thanks! :-*
ancarett
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:12 am (UTC)
Catching up, here. Oh, this was a tough chapter, wasn't it? Richard's response doesn't seem unfair -- he would expect that she would know what happened. Lois being both proud and pained is perfectly in character. And Clark coming back to her? So sweet!

I'm glad that you're dealing with this source of tension and pain between Lois and Clark.
htbthomas
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:29 am (UTC)
It sure was a tough one to write. I actually found my conception of Richard to be the driving force here, the dialogue just flowed into my fingers without being planned out first (funny how characters sometimes do that). So I don't think I really knew that Richard would figure it out, or that he would react that way until he actually did! lol.
bistyboo1974
Aug. 28th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
Coming clean to Richard about Jason's paternity...nicely handled. ;-)

“Jason.” The name fell heavily from his mouth.

Guh, the weight of that single word -- his son's name. It's so evident how hard it is for Richard to say it. To commit sound to a thought that he'd probably been haunted by for some time. To admit that the child he'd helped raised wasn't his own flesh and blood. :( *sniffles*

Oh, but Lois and Clark are heading north now... *glee* Better grab my parka and get ready for that one!
htbthomas
Aug. 28th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC)
Yes, Richard has a terrible time in this story. I strove to make him as real and likeable as possible -- the kind of man Lois would fall for in the absence of Superman.

But to have his worst fears confirmed? The most awful thing ever...
bistyboo1974
Aug. 28th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
Richard is going to have a tough time no matter how anyone tries to spin it, the poor guy.
mary_v
Jan. 12th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
Ohhh Brilliant work!:D I am adoring this fic so far, and i just wanted to leave a review here because Sernedipity has to be mentioned:P Once I read that first paragraph of the fic I decided to try and get some work done, and lo and behold, the article I had to read for class was talking about the tsunami in Asia!:P
Bu seriously, this is the first Superman fic that I've read that has the characters so brilliantly done - seriously they're near perfect! You really have Lois acting as Lois Lane, Richard is really just wonderful and Clark is Clark. Something which I think you should be very proud of.:P

Brilliant work!:D *applause*
htbthomas
Jan. 12th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow! Thanks! I'm so used to getting reviews once people have finished the whole thing that it is a complete treat to get one from someone new in the middle!

Thank you - I am pretty proud of the characterization myself. I love the characters, though, so it makes it a little easier, I think.

I hope you'll find time to finish reading - I just published Ch. 36. And there will be probably 3 more after this.
mary_v
Jan. 13th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
Oh I am pretty darn hooked on this fic, you can count on me finding time to finish it.:P
jij
Mar. 4th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
Reports are now coming in of another devastating round of tsunamis in South-East Asia. Casualties are estimated in the hundreds; however, the total would have been much higher if not for the arrival of Superman.

This has little to do with this chapter, but I'm kind of glad to see I'm not the only person who apparently sends Superman out in my stories to fix the things I wish could have been fixed in real life. I've had him breaking up hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and rescuing stranded mountain-climbers recently. It's...oddly comforting.

The argument with Richard was painful and realistic. That he'd be disappointed seems very in-character for him. Writing movie Clois has got to be tough sometimes for the same reason writing S/B is tough for me sometimes--both Richard and Lois, respectively, are good people who don't deserve to lose their loved one. It's a real challenge and I like the way you handle it here--directly but fairly.

Mmmm, the last line is wonderful in its simplicity and for Lois's painful constant awareness of her proximity to Clark.
htbthomas
Mar. 4th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC)
I think anything that happens in Asia seems to resonate more with me, having lived there. And what else is Superman for? (Other than as an object of our affections, I mean). :)

As far as tough, actually the fact that Richard, Lois and Clark are good people whom I refuse to demonize (well, not that much anyway) made the story more compelling to write! I enjoyed the angst and the conflict between them. Ultimately, I wanted to show what a tough decision Lois was making here.

Thanks for the review!
fairfax_verde
Jun. 12th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
Sheesh, you weren't kidding about that "Evil Cliffies" thing, were you? Every time I say I'll just read one more chapter . . .

So yes, I finally watched SR, and wondered about many of the issues that you are so deftly addressing here, e.g. what Lois remembered and when did she remember it. I love the way you write Jason and the relationship between mother and son, it is very real and believable. Kids in fic can be hard to write, but you write him just perfectly. I find myself wanting to give him a hug! Also, excellent handling of the Richard situation. I liked him in the movie and it's been hard knowing the disappointment and sorrow that is coming to a decent person who has the misfortune to be in his situation. You've handled that very sensitively. I am enjoying this so very much (but still waiting eagerly for the next chapter of 'For Love')!
htbthomas
Jun. 12th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Nope! This story is how I got the name... :D

I was so excited to see a comment on this story from you! Glad you watched SR so that you could as well! *hugs*

There were SO many issues at the end of the film, it was just crying out for a fic sequel. And thanks for your compliment on Jason - I base a lot of his characterization on the kindergarteners I taught for 3 years... and my preschool-age daughter. And Richard, my squishy! I wish good things for him in the Superman sequel Man of Steel. *hugs him*

For Love got delayed a bit by a challenge fic I just finished writing with jenn_1 for a Clois challenge community... and the awards site I suddenly decided I wanted to be in charge of. :D But it's coming!
fairfax_verde
Jun. 13th, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC)
I can only imagine how tough it was for people reading this as a WIP! At least I have the luxury of knowing the next chapter is there waiting to be read.

So there is going to be a sequel to SR? I hadn't heard that. I too hope that something good happens for Richard. He is so appealing -- gorgeous, kind, intelligent, a good dad -- that is why I am not completely sold on Clois, I think. I hate seeing him hurt, and the idea of losing his son is awful.

BTW, I have a preschool age daughter, too! She is 4. OK, off to read more!
htbthomas
Jun. 13th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
Mine is 4 as well! LOL.

Poor Richard... *sniff*
brdwaybebe
Jul. 31st, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
“He certainly seems to have made a full recovery, even though he’s only been out of the hospital a couple of days.” She nodded noncommittally in agreement, keeping her eyes downward as she chewed. But he wasn’t done. “Tell me. When you saw him last, did he look well?”


Uh oh. -omnious music



Is this what it’s like? To keep an important truth from someone you love, because you fear they won’t be able to handle it? She finally settled on a half-truth, despising its necessity. “


Ah see. Now she is starting to see what he has to live with. I love the addition of how she bent the truth and hated it. She knows how he feels a bit now. Little by little the anger is ebbing.




“Jason.” The name fell heavily from his mouth.


::jaw drops:: ooooh drama!


“Tell me. Was this why you would never set a date? Was I just a placeholder until the real groom came back?”


Oooooooh SNAP. (and yes) ouch.


“Clark…” she whispered. “I can’t take it anymore. I know the world needs you… but what about me?”


And just like that. He appears. I love that.


She came around to take his hand in hers, the first time she had voluntarily touched him since the fateful kiss. “Take me to the Fortress.”


YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

htbthomas
Jul. 31st, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
Now she is starting to see what he has to live with. I love the addition of how she bent the truth and hated it. She knows how he feels a bit now. Little by little the anger is ebbing. -- Shoe is on the other foot, right?

ooooh drama! -- This is probably the first hint at the large role Richard plays in this story. He has an emotional arc to go through himself.

Yes, to the Fortress we go! Thanks so much for all the reviews! Can't wait to read the next one!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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